I get these great sermon applications from Alan Smith who pastors at Helen Street Church of Christ in Fayetteville, North Carolina...
This particular one made laugh out loud - nutty professors are everywhere!
A small bottle containing urine sat on the desk of Sir William Osler. He was then the eminent professor of medicine at Oxford University. Sitting before him was a classroom full of young wide-eyed medical students listening to his lecture on the importance of observing details. To emphasize his point, he reached down and picked up the bottle. Holding it high, he announced: "This bottle contains a urine sample for analysis. It's often possible by testing it to determine the disease from which the patient suffers."
Suiting action to words, he dipped a finger into the urine and then into his mouth as he continued: "Now I am going to pass this bottle around. Each of you please do exactly as I did. Perhaps we can learn the importance of this technique and diagnose the case."
The bottle made its way from row to row as each student gingerly poked his finger in and bravely sampled the contents with a frown. Dr. Osler then retrieved the bottle and startled his students with these words: "Gentlemen, now you will understand what I mean when I speak about details. Had you been observant, you would have seen that I put my index finger into the bottle but my middle finger into my mouth."
Jesus put the same emphasis on the importance of paying attention to details. Consider how many times Jesus spoke the words:
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 13:9)
In other words, "Pay attention! Listen closely to what I'm about to say." Far too often, we only half-listen (my wife will tell you that I'm especially prone to this whenever she's talking to me). We hear some of what is said, but we tend to miss many of the details (in my defense, I can usually come back from the store with three of the four items she told me to pick up!).
As serious as that tendency may be in our everyday lives, it can be deadly to us spiritually. Missing out on what Jesus has to say may mean the difference between eternal life and eternal death. So, pay attention! Listen carefully!